When organisations consider a third-party cloud platform to use, the decision is typically between two key contenders: AWS vs Azure.
While Amazon Web Services (AWS) has the longer track record (and is currently the market leader), Azure is offered by Microsoft and therefore comes with the prestige of arguably the world’s biggest software brand. So when considering AWS vs Azure, who wins out?
Flexibility Of Cloud Experience
In short, AWS allows users more freedom. Users can structure their own virtual machine, choose pre-made machine images, and customise different MIs. The same users can tailor their AWS experience by being able to choose from different virtual machine features such as size, power, and memory capacity. Each can be launched from different regions, regardless of the variety of availability zones.
Azure offers a more structured experience best suited to those new to using this type of platform. Users can create their virtual machine on Azure through the use of a Virtual Hard Disk. However, there is more user freedom within this experience than one may think, as the VHD can be composed either by Microsoft, you as the user or an independent third party. But users alone must set their core and memory boundaries.
AWS operates under pay-as-you-go, meaning that the use of their platform is charged by the hour. However, there are three different payment tiers that you can subscribe to depending on your use. The first is on-demand. It means that you only pay for what you use. The no upfront cost means that it’s the best option for occasional use. If you’re a repeat user, opt for a reserved plan. This can last for up to three years with an upfront payment that is calculated according to how much cloud you arrange to use. If you’re a heavy user, the final payment tier allows you to opt for extra capacity.
To Azure, pay-as-you-go means for a charge per minute of use, rather than the hour, meaning you aren’t paying for extra. Microsoft also benefits occasional users with short term commitment payment plans, with the opportunity for heavier users to decide between pre-paid or monthly charges.
As an early cloud provider, AWS forged a path in terms of what cloud hosting platforms can achieve. As such, AWS now supports solutions from game technology to machine learning. But this growth in solutions has not been without its issues. The wide range of optionality within AWS can be both intimidating and confusing to new users. This has on occasion resulted in some embarrassing security issues whereby private data has appeared in the public realm. The platform has also had a few embarrassing outages which have appeared prominently due to the brands that use the platform.
Azure’s offering and functionality mirror that of AWS in many ways. But what may be more appealing to organisations is how Azure ties into the wider Microsoft 365 ecosphere. Using Azure, organisations are effectively using the same cloud resource to run cloud services as potentially their CRM system, Power Apps and even Office 365. This may sound like putting all your eggs in one basket, but Microsoft has worked hard to make sure that it is a very secure basket. Plus, the benefit of a single cloud tenant spanning all applications is that security settings can flow right across your Microsoft tenant, removing the complexity that dogs AWS.
So in the AWS vs Azure argument, what’s best for your organisation? Arguably, if you’re already operating a Microsoft setup then Azure will provide you with all the cloud capability you require. And Microsoft is driving hard for fresh innovation on the platform. If your solution is standalone, then AWS will be more than capable of meeting your requirements.
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